Mood and retrieval-induced forgetting of positive and negative autobiographical memories

Celia B. Harris*, Stefanie J. Sharman, Amanda J. Barnier, Michelle L. Moulds

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In two experiments, we examined the effects of high and low levels of dysphoria on retrieval-induced forgetting (RIF) of positive and negative autobiographical memories. In Experiment 1, participants took part in an RIF procedure that was adapted for autobiographical memories. Regardless of level of dysphoria, participants showed facilitation for both negative and positive memories; they only showed RIF for negative memories. Differences in baseline memories were responsible for this effect: Participants recalled more positive than negative baseline memories. Experiment 2 was conducted to address these baseline differences, and also focused only on participants with high levels of dysphoria. Again, high dysphoric participants showed facilitation for both positive and negative memories; they only showed RIF for negative memories. Recall also varied depending on the content of practiced memories and individual differences in anxiety. Overall, these results suggest that retrieval- practice might have different outcomes for different kinds of autobiographical memories, that these outcomes may depend on individual memory biases and memory valence, and that practicing positive memories may assist mood repair.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-413
Number of pages15
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Volume24
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010

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